Kim Weeks' Blog
3 Patriot Way, Salisbury, MA 01952
You see it in your favorite magazines -- or maybe on Pinterest. The ultimate outdoor dining and entertainment experience has elevated basic hosting to an art form, and you can use your existing set up to create a truly spectacular experience for your family and your guests. Follow the tips below to make the most of your entertainment spread and to create an event your guests won't soon forget.
Choose a Theme
You don't have to have a formal idea of what you'll do, or even list it out in great detail, but "authentic Hawaiian luau" looks very different from "Easter Dinner" so knowing what you want to accomplish helps you create an actionable road map.
Plan the Food
Plan out a menu and order any specialties that you need to; specialty foods, meats and even poultry need to be ordered in advance to ensure you are able to get everything you need when you need it. Depending on your own storage space, arrange to have your purchases delivered. Store on dry ice if needed before the big day arrives.
Your outdoor entertaining area is probably designed with your own family in mind, but a larger group will need more places to sit and relax. Consider renting pieces and having them delivered and set up for the event. You'll be able to host everyone in comfort and not have to worry about running out of room.
Order the items you need for serving, if you don't already have them on hand. Depending on the size and theme of the gathering, you may need additional plates, flatware, stemware and more. Again, a rental place can furnish you with many of the things you need at surprisingly affordable rates. This is also the time to order flower arrangements, entertainment and other things that will create ambiance.
Clean it up
Your outdoor kitchen is already in great shape, but having a team to up the yard, clean all surfaces and ensure your home is ready to entertain will give you a break and ensure you feel ready to show your place off.
Set up in the Morning
Even if you have an evening event planned, setting up key pieces in place, making sure drinks are cold enough to share and prepping the food early will allow you the time you need to get ready for your guests and give you the chance to enjoy your own gathering.
Get ready to show off. With the food ready, seating in place, and an outdoor oasis that is truly event ready, you'll be able to show off your entertainment spread and make the most of your home and yard. Careful preparation, paired with attention to detail allows you to share your favorite space with your friends and family, and to show off what you've worked so hard to create.
Outsourcing some food and prep work can help you focus on the actual event and on creating the recipes and experiences you most want to share. Check out any components you are considering doing on your own, just to make sure the DIY approach is truly the swiftest or most affordable way to get ready for your event.
Start planning a few weeks in advance -- this will give you time to order any decorative items you need and to special order food for your guests. You'll be more relaxed on the big day and be better able to enjoy yourself and your home.
100 Atlanta St, Haverhill, MA 01832
When it comes to hiding an AC, it's vital to maintain proper airflow. But you don't have to block airflow to remove an air conditioner from your line of sight. Check out these five creative ways to hide your AC.
A Hanging Garden
To make this project easy, pre-made lattice works just fine for a basic hanging garden. But if you're looking forward to a weekend project, go a little more advanced.
Nail six to eight 2X4s together into a grid, leaving space between them. Then simply encourage vines up the structure or hang potted plants on the slats.
You can also turn your grid into a 3D structure so that each compartment becomes a planter for herbs, succulents, flowers or whatever inspires you.
The exact design is up to you. Just keep two things in mind. First, you'll need to maintain it to prevent overgrowth that blocks airflow. And second, it should be easily removable. Or place it three to five feet from the unit so that a professional can service the AC when needed.
A Slatted Bench
So your AC unit is right in the middle of your outdoor entertainment space. Not to worry. You can build a beautiful deep, slatted bench that fits perfectly over the unit. Think up-side-down crate with a bottom that comes off like a lid and you have the perfect hide-away for an AC.
Stain the bench/cover to match your home or lawn furniture and no one will ever know. And because it doubles as a bench, you'll forget your AC is under there, at least when it's not running.
A Row of Hedges
If you can still maintain access to the unit, some AC units can be concealed by a row of hedges planted three to five feet away from the unit. You can place the hedges along one side or grow them all around.
A Bird Sanctuary
Simply adding a fence would be too ordinary, But combining a fence with a line of beautifully painted birdhouses can cover your AC and add character to your yard while giving local birds a safe and warm place to nest in the spring.
If you want to build the birdhouses from scratch, you can. Or you can head down to your local lawn and garden store to choose three to five you like. Then it's just a matter of using a nail and hammer to secure them to the fence.
Give it its Own House
If you want to have some fun and have a little more carpentry skill than the rest of us, create a miniature version of your home that you can place over the unit. It can't be a replica since it needs proper airflow, but by mimicking your home's style, the structure seems to fit right in. That AC will be an eyesore no more.
Love your yard and home with simple and creative tips like these. For more fresh DIY home maintenance and improvement ideas, follow our blog.
The more you know about the process of buying a house, the better prepared you'll be for doing it successfully.
How might you define "success" when it comes to purchasing a home?
There are a lot of standards that could be applied to successfully navigating the home buying process, but here are a few that immediately come to mind:
- Finding the house of your dreams: While very few people find a home that is absolutely perfect in every way, it is possible to come close to achieving that ideal. Although a certain amount of flexibility goes a long way, knowing what you want and prioritizing important features are among the main prerequisites to getting what you want. As baseball legend Yogi Berra once said, "If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else." Thanks to the variety of websites devoted to home ownership, home decorating, remodeling, and landscaping, it's easy to find pictures online that can help inspire your imagination and clarify exactly what the house of your dreams might look like.
- Minimizing setbacks and frustrations: The process of house hunting is a journey that often involves bumpy roads, detours, and dead ends. One secret to getting through it successfully is to work with an experienced real estate agent who knows the ropes and can keep you on track. It also helps to approach house hunting with a sense of optimism, resourcefulness, and commitment. Although you probably have a lot of competing priorities in your life, finding a house that you and your family will be happy in for the next few years deserves a top spot on your list!
- Avoiding unpleasant surprises: Knowing your credit score and understanding the impact it will have on getting loan approval and a favorable interest rate will help prepare you for the financial side of buying a house. The ability to get prequalified for a mortgage and come up with sufficient down payment will also set the stage for a successful home buying experience. On the plus side, a higher down payment can potentially result in a lower interest rate and not having to pay private mortgage insurance (A 20% down payment is necessary to avoid PMI.) Since many loan programs and lenders require at least a 3-5% down payment, that can be a stumbling block for first-time home buyers. To purchase a $200,000 home, for example, you'd need to come up with a cash outlay of between $6,000 to $10,000 -- not an easy feat for everyone!